AUSTIN, Texas - Hundreds gathered Tuesday in Austin to witness the second inauguration of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
The two Republicans took their second oaths of office on the steps of the Texas Capitol just after 11 a.m.
Patrick touted bipartisanship to begin his remarks after being sworn into office.
“In Texas, we’re different,” Patrick said. “We work together.”
Both men set a tone of cooperation and consensus between parties, perhaps influenced by Democratic gains in both houses in the midterm elections.
Both men focused on school finance reform, teacher pay and property tax reform as the major issues in this year’s session.
“We can and we will better fund education in Texas. We will pay our teachers more and reward achievement in the classroom,” Abbott said. “This session we must finally rein in skyrocketing property taxes in Texas.”
Patrick said bills were filed Tuesday to add $3.7 billion to public education, and to provide a pay raise of $5,000 across the board for the state’s 350,000 teachers.
“Next to parents, there’s no one more important,” Patrick said.
Abbott also said he wants to improve school safety, make the state more resilient to disasters and aid storm ravaged communities along the coast. He also wants to crack down on human trafficking and criminal gangs involved in it.
Among those in attendance Tuesday were actor Chuck Norris and Apollo 7 lunar module pilot Walter Cunningham.
Supporters braved chilly temperatures and threatening clouds to see the ceremony.
Cheryl Inman drove from Sherman, in north Texas, to see it.
“To me, the excitement, the pomp and circumstance; I get emotional today. It makes your blood warm. You don’t get cold,” she said.
Edna Bradley drove in with her daughter from Houston.
“This is a fantastic thing to come to," she said. “It’s history, and I can show my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren, grandma was there.”
The festivities continue Tuesday night with the Inaugural Ball at Austin’s Palmer Events Center. Headlining the show is Texas music legend George Strait, along with Aaron Watson.
When tickets went on sale Jan. 4, 1,500 tickets sold out in three minutes at $125 each.
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